Australian Grand Prix win Bottas' 'best race ever'

F1 Grand Prix of Australia

32 PHOTOS
F1: Melbourne Grand Prix
See Gallery
F1: Melbourne Grand Prix
Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas celebrates on the podium after winning the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17, 2019. (Photo by Asanka Brendon RATNAYAKE / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read ASANKA BRENDON RATNAYAKE/AFP/Getty Images)
Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas celebrates on the podium after winning the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17, 2019. (Photo by Asanka Brendon RATNAYAKE / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read ASANKA BRENDON RATNAYAKE/AFP/Getty Images)
Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas celebrates on the podium after winning the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17, 2019. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF90 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Antonio Giovinazzi of Italy driving the (99) Alfa Romeo Racing C38 Ferrari on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Alfa Romeo Racing C38 Ferrari on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (L) passes Toro Rosso's Russian driver Daniil Kvyat (R) during the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17, 2019 (Photo by WILLIAM WEST / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF90 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Rokit Williams Racing FW42 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Alfa Romeo Racing C38 Ferrari on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Racing Point RP19 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Second-placed Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17, 2019. (Photo by Asanka Brendon RATNAYAKE / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read ASANKA BRENDON RATNAYAKE/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Renault Sport F1 reacts after retiring from the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner looks on from the pitwall during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR14 Honda on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Race winner Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP second placed Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and third placed Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Race winner Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton drives during the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17, 2019. (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Renault during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Pierre Gasly of Red Bull Racing and France during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton drives during the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17, 2019. (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)
Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (L) congratulates his team in the pits after winning the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17, 2019. (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)
Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc runs off the track during the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17, 2019. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (C) congratulates his team in the pits after winning the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17, 2019. (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17:Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and France during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)
Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc runs off the track during the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17, 2019. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
Third-placed Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium after the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17, 2019. (Photo by Asanka Brendon RATNAYAKE / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read ASANKA BRENDON RATNAYAKE/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Start during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17:Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and France during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Third placed Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB15 pulls into parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB15 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Valtteri Bottas felt he produced his "best race ever" as he began the 2019 Formula One season with a win at the Australian Grand Prix.

Mercedes driver Bottas got away brilliantly and overtook pole-sitting team-mate Lewis Hamilton into turn one, with victory always looking likely from that point.

It represented the Finn's first win in 22 races, having last triumphed at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"The start was really good. It was definitely my best race ever," said Bottas, who took a maximum 26 points by posting the fastest lap.

"I just felt so good, everything was under control and the car was so good today. It was truly enjoyable.

"As I had a really strong pace I wanted to go for [the fastest-lap bonus point]. It's always a bit risky on worn tyres, but it was worth it.

"I'm so happy and can't wait for the next race."

Bottas added on the podium: "In the beginning it was all about managing the race and trying to build a gap, which I did after about seven laps.

"I know I can do it, I've done it before. It was all about being at my best level. The second stint, when you're really on it, it feels kind of easy!"

Hamilton appeared to struggle on the medium compound and had to fend off Max Verstappen to take second, though he said the Red Bull driver had presented him with "no problem".

The reigning champion was pleased Mercedes sealed a one-two but had admitted he had an inkling about why he had failed to keep up with Bottas.

"It's a good weekend for the team, so I have to be happy for everyone - a fantastic job from everyone," said Hamilton.

"Valtteri drove an incredible race today so he truly deserved it and we've just got some work to do. It's a great race start to the year, more than we could have hoped for the team.

"I do have some ideas [about the lack of pace], but I'll wait to sit with my engineers to go over it.

"It's frustrating when you have a good weekend up until that point but that's how it goes and I'll work hard to improve next time."

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS